We direct you to the Freelance Directory
AN NUJ activist received an enquiry from a member on whether anyone had actually paid £50 per year for a listing on the journalism.co.uk website. The replies they received included one from a journalist saying they didn't even know there was an NUJ freelance directory, and that they would start taking advantage of their membership more.
Another respondent, also not previously aware, found that such listings do show up on search engines. Just to alert you, too: the NUJ's Freelance Directory offers free listings to all paid-up freelance members at www.freelancedirectory.org and it is open to both full and temporary members.
Normal caution applies
At least two dubious operations have recently sent messages to NUJ Freelance Directory members.
One appears to be a scam. From our investigations it appears that the trick used by firstname.lastname@example.org (and similar Yahoo addresses) is to commission work; send a cheque; declare it to be an overpayment; demand a refund; and then bounce the cheque.
Another is an invitation to join "www.freelancersdirectory.org" - an enterprise which despite its name has no connection with the NUJ. It is registered from an "accommodation address" in Islington that appears not to be too choosy about who its virtual neighbours are. The NUJ does not endorse or recommend this "directory".
Following messages from a few members, it seems useful to clarify how the Freelance Directory works. It offers you a means of being contactable by the world at large - while deciding what details you make public. The Directory forwards messages entered from your entry automatically. The NUJ does not check them - that would be an intrusion on your private communications!
The NUJ does not endorse messages that arrive via the Directory. The Directory does prevent automated mass mailings by demanding that a human enters each message and completes a puzzle to prove they're human.
You can see which messages come to you by this route because they appear in your email with a Subject line starting "Via NUJ Freelance Directory - msg from..."
The advantage of being contacted through the Freelance Directory is that the public does not have to have your real email address. You can see what has come from your public entry and exercise the necessary caution.
If you have doubts about someone who has contacted you through the Directory, do contact the Freelance Office (at FreelanceOffice@nuj.org.uk) - and remember to update your entry by logging in at www.freelancedirectory.org
The entire point of the Directory is that you should be contactable, with the maximum feasible privacy. Unlike commercial services, the Directory is entirely under the control of the NUJ, which will do the utmost to protect that privacy and will never sell your details or inflict advertising on you.